Jimmie Allen might soon have another trophy to add to his collection. The Delaware native was nominated for an NAACP Image Award, for Oustanding New Artist. Allen spoke out about the honor on social media.
“I can’t find the words to describe the amount of gratitude, feelings of being seen and appreciated that comes with this nomination from [NAACP Image Award],” Allen said. “When I started my journey in country music, my father told me in the beginning this is bigger than me. My dream is to create music I love and show people of color that Country Music is space we can enjoy also. Thanks country radio for supporting me and my music. Thank you to my team for working so hard to create opportunities to make what we are doing visible.”
I can’t find the words to describe the amount of gratitude, feelings of being seen and appreciated that comes with this nomination from @naacpimageaward When I started my journey in country music, my father told me in the beginning this is bigger than me. pic.twitter.com/bqEH85srim
— Jimmie Allen (@JimmieAllen) January 19, 2022
Allen, who once spent his last $100 to see Charley Pride in concert, looked to Pride for inspiration in becoming a Black artist in country music.
“It was the best thing ever,” Allen told Everything Nash of watching Pride’s career. “It was like, imagine someone in your life that they’re the reason why you feel comfortable doing something — the ultimate inspiration. And so for me, being a Black kid growing up in Delaware, listening to country music, we didn’t really see anybody on TV that looked like us. So the thought of being a country artist was cool, but how realistic was it? For me, he was the one that made it possible for me to see an example, ‘Okay, this is doable.'”
Allen recently said he takes his role as a Black artist in country music very seriously, hoping he can inspire needed change within the genre, to welcome more Black artists.
“A producer who’s worked with Drake and T Pain and a bunch of other people said to me, ‘Jimmie, think about this when you win or lose these awards – you’re bringing people together without realizing it. You’re letting young Black kids see that you can do country music,’” Allen reflected to Pollstar. “‘But, at the same time, you’re letting the world know that country music looks like you. In this genre of music that for years has just been associated with white people, to where certain artists of different color feel like they can’t be a part of because they’re not white — that’s not true.
“‘And as shown by this Grammy nomination, you’re a Black guy that has a Grammy nomination because of the success you had in country music,’” he continued. “‘You’re not nominated for a Grammy because you sold a bunch of pop records or hip-hop records up until your success in country music, a genre where people said you couldn’t do. You’ve managed to fit and succeed. And that story alone right there [will] motivate so many people.’”
The NAACP Image Awards will take place on Saturday, February 26, at 8:00 PM ET on BET. Allen will kick off his Down Home Tour on February 3 in Los Angeles. Find tour dates here.